Bryson City Seasons — Hospital Politics (Part 3)

This is from the thirteenth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week, and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


I picked up the phone and called the emergency room. Louise answered, and I asked her to find out who was on call for the Sylva Orthopaedic Associates in Sylva. I had met the two docs who cared for the Western Carolina University athletes, and I was impressed with their skill and judgment. “When you get the on-call doctor, let me know.”

I continued to look at Gary’s X-ray films until the call came in. It was Cliff Faull, M.D., an orthopedist who had trained at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. I explained the case. Cliff agreed to see Gary on Monday morning at the hospital in Sylva.

“Have him come see me without having had food or fluids after midnight. I might be able to scope him Monday morning, if that’s okay with you.”

“That sounds great, Cliff.”

I hung up the phone and went over to ER. I found Gary and his parents and explained the results of the X-ray and the various treatment options. After a few minutes of discussion, they decided to take Gary home and see Dr. Faull on Monday.

I had Louise show them how to keep the knee iced and wrapped in an Ace wrap. She also fitted Gary with a knee splint and crutches. I also had her dispense some pain pills. Louise had Gary’s parents pull their car next to the ER entrance, and before long, they had him loaded into the backseat of the car.

I walked out with them, and when Louise took the wheelchair back inside, I had a quick powwow with Gary’s parents. I told them I sensed that the community standard in Bryson City up that point was open surgery. I reassured them that I thought they were making the right decision but that I needed them to make the decision.

Mr. Lackey looked away quietly for a moment and then turned back toward me. His jaw seemed set. “Dr. Larimore, we want what’s best for our son. If there’s a way to get him back on the field this season safely, we want to do it. I know you’re taking a professional risk to send us to Sylva, and I want you to know I appreciate what you’re doing for him. And if anyone asks, you tell them this was our decision. If Dr. Mitchell or anyone else has a problem, you have them call me.”

We shook hands, and I turned to go back into the ER. About halfway to the door, I heard Gary’s mom. “Dr. Larimore . . .”

I turned to face her. She had misty eyes, and her lips whispered, “Thank you.”

I nodded my head, sheepishly waved good-bye, and went inside. As I sat filling out the paperwork, Louise walked up to me and was quiet. I looked up at her. “You talk to Dr. Mitchell about this?”

“About what?” I inquired.

“About sendin’ that boy to Sylva?”

“Why should I?” I asked, turning toward her as I stopped writing.

“Well, well. Number one, Dr. Mitchell don’t like us referrin’ folks to Sylva. And, number two, he does a lot of knee surgery right here.”

I was detecting a theme here—from Preston to Carroll to Louise. “I understand your concern,” I began.

Louise broke in, laughing. “Ain’t no concern of mine, Dr. Larimore. I just know how things are done around here.”

“I appreciate that, Louise. And you know how very much I’ve learned about that.”

“Uh-huh,” she quipped.

I thought, What I should say is, “Louise, Gary needs arthroscopy. An open procedure would not be in the best interest of anyone but the surgeon. And we don’t do arthroscopy here.” But I chickened out.

“Louise, Gary’s parents were bound and determined to take him to Sylva. You heard me tell them they could have surgery here. They chose otherwise. What are we supposed to do—chain him down?”

She glanced at me and said, “Well, you just be careful,” and walked away.

Coach Dietz called the emergency room while I was doing the paperwork. I updated him on what had happened. When I was finished, he was quiet for a moment. Then he said, “Doc, I’ve had some boys sliced and diced I don’t think needed it. What you’re doing here is the right thing—for Gary and for the team. I appreciate it. I really do. But you be careful. There’s some folks around here who want to carve on folks every chance they get.”

“I understand,” I said. And I surely was beginning to.

“You know,” he drawled, “there’s some bobcats ’round here, and they can inflict some harm if they attack.”

“Yes sir,” I replied, “I’m getting that message loud and clear.”

“Thanks, Doc. I appreciate you.”

We hung up, and I turned back to finish my paperwork. I was prepared for the possibility of one bobcat attack.

I didn’t know that on that particular night there would be two.



  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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